|My Dad & Aunt Carole ca.1942|
While visiting family in San Antonio when I was younger, I think my dad asked that question just to hear our groans. We really didn't have a choice in the matter. We were going and we were gonna start with the house he was born in. Just like every other single time. And the tour wasn't just of the houses my dad grew up in either. [Of course not.] It included his high school; his junior high; his hang-outs; where he used to drag race [In the dark. With no headlights.]; where he and mom used to go on dates; where he ran the Air Force guy off the road to tell him that *he* [my dad] was her boyfriend & that she wasn't available for dates anymore [I'm sure he was very polite about that. *snort*]; etc.
A quick glance at the calendar reminds me that March 12th is the 7th anniversary of his death, and it's approaching quickly. Perhaps that's why he's crept into my thoughts.
Did you know he was the reason I got into genealogy in the first place? He was.
I remember my senior year in high school and working on my genealogy school project. And I remember him asking me to "do" our genealogy. That he only knew a few things about his dad, Big Paw Paw. And that he wanted to know more.
At the time, I found it strange that he wanted to know more about a man who had been mean to him. A man who had never shown him love or kindness.
I didn't realize how important it was to him, and at the time, I didn't pursue our family's history other than what my Gran and my Paw Paw shared with me. Our stories. I was too busy living in the "now" to look up some guy from the past no one liked.
Then "life" happened, as it tends to do. Dad's health problems rotated between battling heart attacks and kidney cancer [renal cell carcinoma], and the battles would continue for the rest of his life. In between all that, my younger brother was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial genetic disorder, and then passed away a year and a half later. I married, and began having my children. Additionally throughout the years, my mom's mom, my Gran, died; my mom's brother-in-law, my Uncle Lloyd, died [He's a character with some stories.]; my dad's mom, my Paw Paw, died; my mother-in-law died from breast cancer; and then my dad died.
Like I said, "life happened."
And then one day, "life" got me to thinking about my dad's original request. I remembered those few details that my dad had told me about Big Paw Paw. And, well, I started looking. I chronicled that rough & rocky rookie family history journey here. [It's not pretty, and, um, it's in 6 parts. So grab some coffee and donuts and get comfy before reading.]
I wish I'd started researching our family's history when he was alive. I wish he was here doing it with me. My dad loved researching on the internet, loved history, and loved technology. He would've loved genealogy.
But like mom always used to say when I was younger, "If wishes were horses, Caroline, beggars could ride."
*Sigh.* She's right, as usual.
So, I plug along.
Chronicling my ancestors' lives.
But I must be a "beggar" at heart. 'Cause I still keep wishing for my dad to come riding in on a horse to give me one of his dang "All the Houses I Grew Up In" tours.